Every time someone has a heart attack on TV or in the movies, it’s a very dramatic event. It involves intense pain, inability to breathe, clutching their chest, and falling to the ground. While there are certainly cases where that can happen when you’re having a heart attack, it’s important to realize that it isn’t always how heart problems present. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in both men and women, it’s becoming more and more important to understand the signs of it, as well as understand the potential risks and how to minimize them.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the term given to a buildup of plaque leading to blocked blood vessels. This buildup can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina), and stroke. Around 610,000 people in the US die as a result of heart disease annually, with more than half of these deaths being in men. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the US, with the first symptom often being a heart attack.
What Factors Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease?
The biggest risks for heart disease are having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being a smoker. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the most common risk factors. Family health history, as well as age, sex, and ethnicity can also be contributing factors to whether or not you will have heart disease. Other common risk factors include having a sedentary lifestyle, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight or obese, having diabetes, and having a poor diet. These secondary symptoms go hand-in-hand with the primary risks as they are often the cause of high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, it does present differently. Men are more likely to experience the typical signs of a heart attack, like chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the arm, back, or jaw, and nausea. On the contrary, it’s totally normal for women to have no symptoms or just a dull pain in the chest, neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back. Sixty-four percent of women and fifty percent of men who die suddenly from CHD had no previous symptoms.
How Much Do You Know About Heart Disease?
While we’ve outlined some of the basics of heart disease, there is actually a lot more to it. MDVIP, a network of primary care doctors, put out a quiz that aims to test knowledge and further educate people on what the risks are for heart disease and how they can lessen theirs. The vast majority of people who took the quiz didn’t pass it, further illustrating the need for more heart-related education. See how your knowledge stacks up by taking the quiz yourself.
What Should I Do About Minimizing My Risk Of Heart Disease?
While certain factors, like genetics, can’t be changed, there is still a lot you can do to lower your risk. A heart screening from TrustCare Heart Clinic should be your first step. The simple test can give you a better understanding of your blood pressure, BMI, and how your heart is functioning. Once you’ve gotten screened, your doctor can advise you on measures you can take depending on your level of health. In the meantime, take some precautions of your own. Start eating more fruits and veggies, put down the alcohol and cigarettes, and head outside or to the gym to get some exercise. Your heart will thank you.
Schedule your heart screening today and learn more about the services at TrustCare Heart Clinic.